How to Use Transfer Paper with Vinyl
If you’re new to making vinyl craft stickers, you’re going to have to deal with transfer paper. But wait, how do you use transfer paper with vinyl? The concept is pretty simple: cut and weed the vinyl, transfer the vinyl to the transfer paper, then transfer the design to the merchandise.
There are a lot of vinyl projects you can create. With a cutting machine, permanent vinyl, and transfer tape, you’ve got a golden pot of business opportunity in your hands. So if it’s your first time working on a transfer paper and vinyl, you might want to read this entire craft guide.
What is a transfer paper?
In case you haven’t worked with a transfer paper before, the photo above is what it looks like. It either comes in rolls or A4 sheet packs. What you should also know is the term ‘transfer paper’ is used synonymously with ‘transfer tape’.
A transfer paper is anything you can print on, via an inkjet printer, then is used to transfer print for example on a shirt. While a transfer tape is a sticky paper used to transfer vinyl to merchandise, let’s say for instance a mug.
In this case, we’ll be using the word transfer paper and transfer tape synonymously, as most crafters would do. So let’s talk about the purpose of a transfer tape.
What’s a transfer paper used for?
Transfer paper is a sticky paper used to transfer vinyl into merchandise like mugs, cups, or glasses. Transfer tapes are used as a means of transporting the vinyl decal to a product you want to personalize.
Transfer tapes have two sides — the bottom layer serves as the paper backing (the one you need to remove) and the upper sticky side is made of plastic film. The top layer or the sticky side is what goes on the top of the adhesive vinyl.
For craft projects like mugs, cups, or tumblers, permanent adhesive vinyl is used. When you’re working with heat transfer vinyl for t-shirt printing, you won’t need a transfer tape. Heat transfer vinyl has a carrier sheet as the top layer, and the vinyl directly goes to the garment.
That’s why you won’t need transfer tape for t-shirt printing. Let’s be clear, for vinyl projects that need to be washed frequently like mugs or cups you may want to use permanent adhesive vinyl. For one-time projects, like wedding wood boards, you can use removable vinyl.
Transfer Paper Comes in Different Types
As mentioned, transfer tape comes in different types. So before you buy a transfer tape, make sure you picked the right product. It’s important to read this part because you need to know the product specification you need before buying it. Here’s what you need to know:
With Grid Lines or No Gridlines
Do you use transfer tape with grid lines or no gridlines? The choice is totally up to you. But if you want an easier workflow and placement, later on, it’s easier to work with transfer tapes with grid lines.
When working with transfer tape with gridlines, you can place it over the entire vinyl and if you’re not an expert with proper alignment while placing the vinyl, transfer tapes with grid lines can be of big help.
Medium Tack vs High Tack Transfer Tape
Transfer tapes differ in their ‘tack’ or stickiness as well. What it means is the strength of grip the adhesive side of transfer tape has. There are two common transfer papers categorized into tackiness — medium tack and high tack.
How will you choose between the two? This depends on the type of vinyl you’re working for. To give you an idea, here’s a suggestion:
- Medium Tack: Holographic, oval, and all other regular vinyl
- High Tack: Holographic, specialty, and glitter vinyl
Why does this matter? When you use medium tack on specialty vinyl like glitter, the tackiness is not sticky enough for the vinyl to adhere to the vinyl transfer tape. Meanwhile, if you use high tack transfer tape on regular vinyl, the vinyl will adhere strongly to the transfer tape, and the entire design may get ruined.
What Transfer Tape Should I Use?
That is why it’s important to read this part so you can make a decision on which type of transfer tape you have. If you’re into the vinyl crafting business or see yourself making a lot of DIY projects, a suggestion is to have both medium tack and high tack transfer tape on hand.
The same goes with choosing between a transfer tape with non-grid and grid lines. If you think you’ll have a hard time with the proper alignment, it is better to use transfer tapes with grid lines. If you’ve become a craft expert or the grid lines get in the way of your work, then using the TeckWrap Craft Matte Transfer tape without the grid lines is an excellent option for you.
A great suggestion is to have on hand a transfer tape with grid lines and no grid lines. So a great combination you can have in your workshop is the matte transfer tape from TeckWrap Craft (no gridlines and has medium tack) and the Gray Grid High Tack Transfer Tape (with grid lines and is a high tack transfer tape).
How to Use Transfer Paper with Vinyl?
So here’s the part you’ve been waiting for, how do you use the transfer tape on a permanent vinyl? Let’s keep this short and straightforward, we’ll focus on the transferring of the vinyl to the transfer tape part. What you have to do is gather your supplies list first:
- Transfer tape
- Squeegee or scraper tool
- Weeding tool
- Your merchandise of choice (mug, cups, or tumbler)
Cut the Design or Cut File
The first thing you need to do is to cut your design. You can create a design on your Silhouette or Cricut design space. Or if you found cute designs online, you can download the SVG files. Don’t forget to place the shiny side of the permanent vinyl up on the cutting mat.
Also, do not mirror the design when you’re using permanent vinyl. Once the vinyl has been cut, weed the excess vinyl. If you want, you can do a test cut before weeding the excess vinyl. To make the weeding easier, especially for intricate designs, you can use a weeding tool or tweezer.
Apply Transfer Tape
The next step is to apply transfer tape over the decal. Cut a piece of transfer tape slightly larger than the vinyl decal (at least 1cm bigger) so the transfer would be much easier. Peel off the paper backing of the transfer tape, and place it over the vinyl decal.
You might want to slowly start with one corner and work your way to the middle. Using a squeegee or a used credit card flatten the transfer tape over the vinyl. The goal is to transfer the vinyl piece to the transfer tape. Flatten it out using a squeegee until the whole decal has completely transferred and all bubbles are removed.
Transfer the Decal to the Item
Once you’re confident the cut vinyl has transferred completely to the transfer tape, it’s time to place the decal on the merchandise. Don’t forget to clean the merchandise with alcohol and a cotton pad before placing the vinyl decal.
Start sticking the transfer paper on the one upper corner and work your way to the middle. It’s like placing a sticker, it’s just that you have to do it slowly. Once the vinyl design is transferred to the merchandise, it will be hard to remove it.
Use a squeegee to flatten the vinyl cutter to make sure it transfers well to the item. Once you’re confident it has transferred, peel off the transfer tape and there you have your final project! That's easy!
Kinds of Transfer Tapes Available at TeckWrap Craft
If you’re looking for a great transfer tape product, TeckWrap Craft got them for you! So while you’re looking to purchase craft vinyl for your next project, consider adding some transfer tapes too.
It will save you shipping costs or going around town looking for the best transfer tape. Here are the choices you can buy at TeckWrap Craft.
Matte Transfer Tape
If you prefer a transfer tape without grid lines with a medium tack, then this Matte Transfer Paper is the best option for you. It’s easy to use, adheres well, and is easy to lift up. You can use this transfer paper for holographic or opal craft vinyl.
Purple Grid Medium Tack Transfer Tape
If you want a medium tack transfer with grid lines then the Purple Grid Medium Tack Transfer Tape is the best option. It has 1-inch squares for easy alignment and is versatile. It's the perfect transfer paper for TeckWrap Craft's Opal Holographic Vinyl. You can use this on large projects because it comes in 12"x10 ft rolls.
Gray Grid High Tack Transfer Tape
If you like working on glitter vinyl or other types of specialty vinyl, then the Gray Grid High Tack Transfer Tape is for you. This type of transfer tape adheres strongly, so avoid using specialty vinyl with this. Plus the gridlines have a lighter color so they won’t interfere too much with your sight while working on a project.
Yellow Grid Transfer Tape For Glitter Vinyl
Another great transfer paper if you’re working on glitter vinyl most of the time is this Yellow Grid Transfer Tape For Glitter Vinyl. It has gridlines to guide you for easy decal placing. Using transfer tape with grid lines is much easier to work on and you’ll appreciate it in the long run.
What projects can I work on with a permanent vinyl?
There are plenty of projects you can create with permanent vinyl and a transfer paper. You can place prints on glass, ceramic, plastic, or acrylic surfaces. What does this mean? You can print on wine glasses, flower vases, notebooks, and many more.
TeckWrap Craft has many craft vinyl you can choose from. With the vast design collections, not only can you give personalized gifts to your loved ones and friends, but make this a profitable business as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get the vinyl to stick to transfer paper?
To get the vinyl to stick to a transfer paper, remove the backing paper of the transfer tape, and place it over the permanent vinyl. Use transfer tape for permanent or removable adhesive vinyl only. You don’t need to use transfer tape for HTV.
Do you need to transfer paper for vinyl?
Yes, you need to transfer paper for vinyl. The transfer tape is the material used to transfer the vinyl to merchandise like mugs, water bottles, and tumblers.
Do you mirror vinyl when using transfer paper?
When using permanent vinyl, you don’t have to mirror the design on the Cricut design space. You only need to mirror the design if you’re using heat transfer vinyl.
Can you use any vinyl with transfer tape?
Generally speaking, you can’t use any type of vinyl with random transfer tape. For specialty or heavier vinyl like glitter, you need to use a high-tack transfer tape. For regular vinyl like holographic, you can use a medium tack transfer tape.
Can you reuse transfer tape?
Yes, you can reuse transfer tape. After finishing a project, place a Teflon sheet or parchment paper over the transfer tape, and save it for use later. If the transfer still has enough adhesion, you can reuse it.
What side of vinyl do you put the transfer tape on?
The colored or top side of the vinyl should be placed on the transfer tape. While the adhesive side of the transfer tape should stick to the top layer of the vinyl.
There you have it! You now know how to use transfer tape when you’re making crafts. In no time, you’ll be an expert in making any personalized project that you want. One last reminder though, that the right transfer paper is your secret weapon in becoming the best vinyl crafter.
The Cricut transfer tape is fine and all, however, they don’t have many options compared to what TeckWrap Craft has to offer. While you’re shopping around the vast collection of TeckWrap Craft’s permanent vinyl, make sure to add to your cart their transfer tapes as well. Enjoy crafting!